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Ode to Toy

Written by Carina DuMarce & Jay Hayden

What happens when a new toy joins the toy box? Bella the Ballerina and Teddy the Teddy Bear welcome Milo, a new Wooden Duck. They teach Milo classic games like Jacks, Hide and Seek, and many more. These three heroes move very differently from one another and must find creative ways to play together as they forge a friendship. In this interactive show for very young children, Milo and the audience learn that play is more fun when everyone is included.

  • Run Dates OCT 29 - NOV 13, 2022
  • Appropriate Ages 1+
  • Duration 40 minutes
  • Members Receive Members receive DISCOUNTED TICKETS to this show!
  • Ticket Price $17.00


Teddy – Kevin Ehrhart
Milo – Emma Jorgenson
Bella – Tonya Ward


Director – Jackie Kappes
Stage Manager – Kenzie Jensen
Scenic Designer – Kathy Voecks
Costumes, Hair & Makeup Designer – Zach Kloppenborg
Lighting Designer – Sierra Smith
Director of Production – Sarah Buck
Technical Director – Jackson Curtright
Props Mistress – Devon Denn-Young
Resident Lighting Designer & Lead Electrician – Matt Benes
Resident Sound Designer & Audio Engineer – Christy Hernandez
Resident Stage Manager – Meghan Boucher
Scenic Charge Artist – Trent Grooms
Resident Costume Designer – Sherri Geerdes
Costume Shop Foreperson – Zach Kloppenborg
Stage Management Apprentice – Kenzie Jensen
Electrics/Audio Apprentice – Sierra Smith
Carpentry/Shop Apprentice – Ren Walther
Swing Techs – Jesse Groff, Jeff Ludwig
Stitchers – Sherri Geerdes, Zach Kloppenborg, Audio Helkuik

Kevin Ehrhart

Kevin Ehrhart


Kevin Ehrhart has been a member of the Omaha Theater Company staff since 1989. While at the Theater, he has directed mainstage, studio theater and national touring productions. His directing credits include Jack Frost, Charlotte's Web, Amelia Bedelia and Treasure Island. Kevin directed the Bully Show at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' New Visions New Voices program.

As a professional actor at the Theater, Kevin has performed as George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, Rooster in Annie, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Captain Von Trapp in the Sound of Music.

As an educator, Kevin has been involved in teaching students from preschool age through high school. He has developed creative drama curriculum surrounding improvisation, movement, directing, playwriting and audition preparation.

Emma Jorgenson

Emma Jorgenson

Emma (she/her/hers) is a theatrical educator, performer, and director whose passion lies in cultivating a strong connection between young artists and the field of theatre, and is currently a Teaching Artist Fellow at the Rose. Emma has BFAs in English and Theatre Studies, focusing primarily on Theatrical Education. Emma is also a Play Production coach for Raymond Central Public Schools. She strives to provide a safe space and solid support for all young artists to be their authentic selves on and offstage.

Other favorite projects include directing Barefoot in the Park and her own adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Gothenburg Sun Theatre) and performing in roles such as Benvolio (Romeo and Juliet) and Em Glamis (Something Wicked: A Slasher Macbeth) with Shoestring Theatre Omaha. Other roles include Nurse (Medea), Gretchen (Boeing Boeing), Judy (Small Mouth Sounds), and The Happy One (Spoon River Anthology).

Tonya Ward

Tonya Ward

Tonya Ward

Tonya Ward, is known as Conga Mama “The girl with a thousand faces” she is an animated storyteller, performing artist, singer, drummer, percussionist and clarinet. Live Music shows: Dr. Webb & Conga Mama, Spongecake & The Fluff Ramblers, Luther James Blues Band. Tonya’s family is from Aruba and she works for a non profit as an advocate for justice. She has 3 sons, 2 grandsons and a newborn Granddaughter. When she lived in Minneapolis she performed at C.A.S.T Theaters under “Charters”, Director in “The Birthday Party” by Harold Pinter (Theatre of The Absurd)I she played “Meg Boyles” wife of Petey. and in “night, Mother” by Marsha Norman, she ran sound and lighting. At The Shelterbelt Theatre in a play called “We Don’t Serve Mexicans” by Don Nguyen, NYC Playwright, she played a Jamaican Cab Driver and a Cemetery Attendant. Recently, Tonya played “Wanda” in “Greater Illinois” by Steven Strafford at the Great Plains Theatre Commons (GPTC) New Play Conference 2022.

Performance at The Rose Theater:
Djembe Drummer in Giraffes Can’t Dance by Gloria Bond Clunie and Directed by Denise Chapman

Tonya played “Wanda” in “Greater Illinois” by Steven Strafford at the Great Plains Theatre Commons (GPTC)
New Play Conference 2022.

Jackie Kappes

Jackie Kappes

Director of Education & Teaching Artist

Jackie (she/her) began at The Rose as a summer education intern and is delighted to return as the Director of Education. She has had the privilege of working as a theatre artist and teacher in communities across the country and world, including with Disney Musicals in Schools, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Bay Area Children’s Theater, Shanghai Children’s Art Theater, 7 Stages International Theatre, San Francisco Playback Theatre, Chattanooga Theatre Centre and StageWrite. Her work at The Rose Theater ignited her passion for theatre for social change and she went on to receive her Masters in Counseling Psychology and Drama Therapy at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Since she has utilized theatre to facilitate dialogue for communities and organizations around topics such as harassment, immigration, veteran’s issues, LGBTQ+ pride and much more with San Francisco Playback Theater. Jackie has also brought drama therapy practices into schools in order to support students and families in building feelings of confidence, working through trauma and grief, fostering more positive relationships and preparing for big life transitions. Jackie is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the vibrant artistic community that so graciously and fruitfully supported her in her first steps out into the professional world of theatre education so many years ago.

FIRST STAGE provides a way to nurture creative thinking and imagination
while inspiring both children and their parents.

Introduce your child to the magic of theater through FIRST STAGE!

First Stage: A small stage for big imaginations

The Rose is proud to offer young theater-goers a unique opportunity to experience the theater arts. Our FIRST STAGE productions are perfect for preschoolers, children with special needs or sensory needs or others who desire a gentler, more interactive and personal performance.

Our FIRST STAGE productions feature:

  • Interactions with performers
  • A smaller theater space where kids are part of the action
  • Flexible seating in chairs, on the floor, on benches, etc.
  • A “shush-free” environment
  • Minimal periods of darkness or loud sounds
  • A whole lot of imagination and fun!

The Rose’s Hitchcock Stage (a smaller theater space located on our 4th floor), allows children to become completely absorbed in the theatrical experience. We encourage their interaction with the performers and invite your family to tear down the fourth wall and become a part of the performance.

First Stage Productions are ideal for:

Ages 1+

First-time theatergoers

Families wanting to try a performance experience

Children with sensory or other special needs